Every year on World Diabetes Day I’m overwhelmed by the unconditional and invaluable support of the diabetes community (or as I like to call it – the diafamily). Although living with T1D can be quite frustrating and exhausting sometimes – without it I wouldn’t have become the person that I am today. Thanks to my pensionary pancreas I get to meet and connect with so many inspiring & strong people from many different countries and collect countless beautiful moments.
The blue circle, created by the International Diabetes Federation in 2006, isn’t only the universal symbol for diabetes – the circle also symbolizes unity. We unite together as a team, motivate each other, cheer each other up. Especially on those days when dealing with T1D feels a bit more challenging than on other days.
“Knowledge is power, community is strength and positive attitude is everything” (Lance Armstrong)
Rise and shine!
However we are not only celebrating World Diabetes Day but also Frederick Bating’s birthday, who – together with Charles Best, John Macleod and Bentram Collip -discovered the hormone insulin in pancreatic extracts of dogs. Since then, its history has come a long way: From patients who would be put onto starvation diets and having a life expectancy of only a few weeks to the 14 year old patient Leonard Thompson, who was the first diabetic to ever recieve insulin in 1922.
Having access to insulin as a diabetic is not only a necessity, it is a human right – regardless of your religion, gender, social status, age, income or where you come from. Until today, millions of people with Type 1 Diabetes are dying because they simply cannot afford to buy it. Many families around the globe have to spend more than 80% of their monthly income to cover the costs of mandatory medical supplies to stay alive.
It is simply not acceptable that medical costs of a chronic disease such as T1D are based on economic interest.
Living in a country where I do not have to worry about the costs of insulin, test stripes, etc. and being fortunate enough to have an insurance company that pays for my insulin pump, CGM, syringes and glucose monitors leaves me extremely grateful but also incredibly sad and angry at the same time as this is unfortunately not the case for everybody and that so many people do not have the resources to mange their T1 diabetes.
Access to health care must be universal and guaranteed for everyone. Health care is a right, not a privilege.
Not only should it be affordable but also easily accessible and provided when and where needed without discrimination.
I hope to see a world where everyone has the opportunity to live a normal and healthy life with T1D. A world where every diabetic has everything he needs to survive and to take care of himself.